Ottawa donates $654K to Neptune Theatre fund

As Neptune Theatre gears up for its 50th season this fall, the federal government announced Friday it will donate $654,000 to Neptune's Endowment Fund.

Federal cabinet Minister Peter MacKay was a guest at the news conference to announce the board's new fundraising program.

"By supporting Canadian culture, we also support the Canadian economy. That's why I'm delighted to announce today the government of Canada is providing more than $650,000 to Neptune Theatre," MacKay said.

Lackluster ticket sales and provincial and municipal funding cuts contributed to the theatre's poor financial performance last season.

The Neptune Endowment Fund is now sitting on $1.5 million dollars. The theatre hopes to raise $5 million in five years.

"This is about us being here for the arts community today and tomorrow, being sustainable for the next 50 years," said Neptune President, Joan McArthur-Blair.

"It is our hope by 2015, through continued support of Canadian Heritage, we can grow that Endowment Fund to $3 million and beyond."

The additional revenue could offset the theatre's operating deficit, which will be revealed at an annual meeting at the end of the month.